4. Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return?
4. Et dices ad eos, Sic dicit Jehova, An qui ceciderunt non resurgent? si quis aversus fuerit non revertetur?
5. Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.
5. Quare rebellis est populus hic Jerosolymae rebellione perpetua? (forti, ad verbum;) adhaeserunt fraudi (vel, apprehenderunt fraudem,) noluerunt reverti.
Though God had reminded his Prophet of the event, yet he still invites the Jews to repentance; not that there was any hope of restoring them to a right mind, (for he had said that they were wholly irreclaimable,) but that their perverseness might be less excusable; and it was also his object to afford some relief to the small number of the godly who still remained; for they had not all fallen away into impiety, though the great body of the people had become corrupt. God then, partly to aggravate the sin of the ungodly, and partly to provide for his faithful people, exhorts those to repentance, who were yet wholly intractable. And here we ought to consider that God's goodness, when abused, brings a much heavier judgment. God does here in a manner contend with the wickedness of his people, by setting before them the hope of pardon, if they repented.
Whoever will impartially consider the discourse of the Prophet must see that this is the real meaning; for, in the second of these verses, he says,
Then he says, that they were
David says, in Psalm 32:2, that the man is blessed in whose spirit there is no guile: he entertains no guile, as we commonly do. Now, to entertain guile is to possess a deceitful heart. He had before said that they are blessed whose sins are forgiven and to whom iniquity is not imputed: he adds by way of explanation, provided there be no guile in the spirit; and why? Because wicked men seem to themselves to be blessed, for they perceive not their own misery, because they are enveloped in their own coverings: and this is the guile of which David speaks. According to the same meaning, our Prophet says, that those
1 Most agree in this view,-Gataker, Venema, Henry, Lowth, Blayney, and Scott. All the versions favor this view, giving two different meanings to
2 The idea of revolt or apostasy is given by the ancient versions to the verb used at the beginning of the verse, and also to the noun which follows, and not that of rebellion, as by Calvin. The same meaning is given by Gataker, Venema, and Blayney; and they consider that Jerusalem is in apposition with "this people, "in this manner,-Why has this people, Jerusalem, Revolted with perpetual revolt? As it has been already observed, the verb
4 Thou shalt also say to them, Thus saith Jehovah,- Do men fall and not rise again? Does any one return and not return?-
5. Why,-often have this people returned, Jerusalem is returning continually!- They hold fast deceit, they have refused to return.
The hypocrisy of the people is the subject: they pretended to return, but did not really return; they were deceitful. It is a sort of a dialogue. The beginning of the next verse is an answer to the end of this,-
6. I hearkened and heard, "No: "thus they say: Yet no man has repented of his evil,- Saying, What have I done? Every one returns to his own course, Like a horse rushing into battle.
The charge of refusing to return was negatived. -- Ed.
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